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Some days ago I found an interesting question.

As I know we can use some stative verbs in continuos with a difference in meaning. There are two sentences:

  1. We'd been wanting to go to New Zealand for years, so sixtieth birthday was a good excuse

  2. We're wanting to buy a new TV, but we are not sure what to get

There was an explanation: We can use a continuous form of "want" if we have ongoing or repeated process; indirectness or politeness. Is it really acceptable?

P.S.: I am not a native speaker

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  • Of course, just put negative marks. More "-" without explaining why Jan 15, 2017 at 14:32
  • Or everyone consider this question stupid? Perhaps, there some points I don't know ... Jan 15, 2017 at 15:11
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    Not just want. The continuous construction is usable whenever a reasonable continuity can be posited. A very common topic introduction phrase goes I've been wanting/meaning/intending to tell/ask/warn you S; it means that for some time I have been experiencing a desire or intention, and this is the first opportunity to satisfy it (so please cooperate). Since desire and many other erstwhile stative predicates are mental or emotional experiences, knowledge of continuing experiences can constitute a domain for the continuous construction. Jan 15, 2017 at 15:20
  • @JohnLawler, forgive my ignorance. So, as I understand we can use it like in your example above, only when we have something it means that for some time I have been experiencing a desire or intention, and this is the first opportunity to satisfy it (so please cooperate). ince desire and many other erstwhile stative predicates are mental or emotional experiences, knowledge of continuing experiences can constitute a domain for the continuous construction.. Am I right? Jan 16, 2017 at 10:25

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We'd been wanting to go to New Zealand for years, so sixtieth birthday was a good excuse.

This a correct, as the continuing action is explicit in "for years". It suggests the "wanting" is past and over.

We wanted to go to New Zealand for years, so sixtieth birthday was a good excuse

This is also correct. It suggests both "wanted to go" and "sixtieth birthday" have past.

We're wanting to buy a new TV, but we are not sure what to get

This is grammatically correct, but suggests that the prospect of "buying" is immediate. The continuous (or progressive) construction suggests the action of "wanting to buy" is "right now".

We want to buy a new TV, but we are not sure what to get

This is also correct. What is called the (simple) present tense suggests only that the action is current, and has no definite beginning or end.

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